Thursday, March 18, 2010

Warmest day of the year so far - I think. Reach Lode bridge officially started!

No cycling for a couple of days - things that needed to get done got in the way - and all the time the weather has been getting warmer with today at 15C - the warmest, I think, so far this year. With temperatures like that I just had to get out and ... mow the lawn. At this time if year I have to steer around the crocuses and daffodils, although normally there would be flowers on the daffs there are barely any showing at the moment. I don't really look forward to the first cut of the year - although not much grass comes off as in the Summer the lawn is springy and I have to do more steering which makes it hard work. I reckon it is around 2,000 steps - and takes between 2 and 3 hours as there are bits of lawn in four different places and things to move and avoid. It was good to get it done though and fast enough that I also had time for a quick ride.

I did notice an interesting story in the Cambridge News though - "City bus route branded hell". In this article it is about a bus being attacked along Fison Road which the Sustrans 51 route briefly runs along. It seems there have been a number of attacks and in this one a brick was thrown through one of the buses windows. I am surprised as I have travelled along that road many times, sometimes late in the evening and have not seen any problems or felt at all threatened.

Another story, that heralds the inevitable was on the BBC Website: "Petrol currently costs £1.15 a litre on average". Given that oil (used to make petrol) is a limited resource and many countries are using more each year as their economies grow then the price is bound to go up. It is simple Economics - the so-called Law of Supply and Demand. If nothing else does this will reduce the number of cars on the road, unless of course electric cars crack all of the issues they have. There will be some interesting consequences, will theft of petrol from cars increase, will people switch to cycle, bus and train travel, will house prices in remoter villages drop? Will house prices near railway stations increase?

It might also make recreational visits to the countryside a little more local again. Speaking of which we have the Wicken Fen Vision, something I believe makes sense and judging from the state of the poll on the Number 10 petition website seems to have more supporter than detractors. (861 for, 47 against 19/03/10 10:00am). As part of the vision new access routes are being created across the Fen. A number of bridges are required to cross the various Lodes (drainage ditches) to facilitate the route over existing paths. The route, once called the Wicken Fen Spine Route, made progress with the first bridge opening over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode (this link includes an overhead picture of the new bridge).

The second in either three or four bridges has now been started and was officially announced in the press.There is a short piece in the Cambridge News: "Work beings on Reach Lode crossing" which indicates that the route is now to be called the Lodes Way - not a bad name given it opens up several Lodes to visitors who might otherwise not have the opportunity. (Which is of course part of the issue in the petitions.) There is an image of how the bridge might look in this Wicken Fen press release. While looking for more information I also found this piece in the Newmarket Journal; "Work starts on National Trust Lode Bridge" a slightly longer piece which unfortunately only seems to solicit a negative opinion rather than also include a positive opinion. (If you are interested Wikipedia has an article on Wicken Fen.)

Why am I rabbiting on about it - well it started with a brief introduction to this photograph and mushroomed from there. So here it is the photograph shows the Reach Lode bank from the Cambridge side, an access track has been built and holes are being drilled, presumably for the foundations.


Adjacent to the same stop is a track from Reach to Upware - it looks dry enough to make for "easier" cycling, I must get out on my MTB again.


Yet another picture of a freshly tilled field - the farmers really are busy at the moment - with tractors on the roads as they drive between fields and it is quite common to see a couple of tractors working in the same field.


This harrow was in the field at the weekend and I am a little surprised to see it still there given the need to get the fields sorted. The last time I took the picture rain had caused some splodges on the lens - this time no splodges, but the sky was very bland and grey.


In the distance there were a couple of tractors busy - fen soil is very fine and of course the fields are very flat.


One of the Lodes to be crossed as part of Lodes Way - a new bridge is required, although it is possible to drag a cycle over here riding a horse would be a different matter.


London tomorrow - let's hope there is cycle parking at the station; stay tuned!


  1. You're not quite correct with your 10 Downing Street petition figures. Those against the Wicken Vision numbered 418 on the SaveOurFens site and another 47 on the SaveTheFarmland one - so far. Most of the people most affected signed the 'anti' one. BTW, I like the quality of your pictures!

  2. My apologies - I had only given the counts for the two open petitions on the Number10 website which reference Wicken Fen. There are indeed two closed petitions which as your numbers indicate show the strength of concern.

    I have long thought that there ought to be the ability to create a Number10 Poll where the point at issue could be either voted "for" or "against" which might help to give a better sense of feeling.

    Thank you for you kind comments about the picture - it is the beauty of the Fens.